Jose Ramirez won his first world title Saturday night with a unanimous decision victory over Amir Imam to win the WBC’s vacant 140-pound belt.
Ramirez pulled away in the late rounds, swelling Imam’s right eye in the process to take the title that became open when Terence Crawford moved up to welterweight.
Ramirez, a 2012 U.S. Olympian, won by scores of 120-108, 117-111 and 115-113. He improved to 22-0 with 16 knockouts. Imam fell to 21-2.
”I should have done more to the body,” he said. ”And I needed to. I just keep thinking about all the things I should have done.”
Ramirez relentlessly pressured Imam and pounded away with hard left hooks, and Imam just couldn’t keep him off for all three minutes. Ramirez won the final three rounds on all three scorecards after Imam had gotten back into the bout with some good work in the middle rounds.
The WBC’s 2,000th world title fight was the first time promoters Bob Arum and Don King went against each other since March 12, 2011, when Miguel Cotto stopped Ricardo Mayorga in a WBA super welterweight fight.
King, wearing a giant button of President Donald Trump on his glittery denim jacket, boasted big as always leading into the fight but had to acknowledge that his fighter lost it afterward.
”The kid was relentless. He fought like a Mexican. Just relentless,” King said. ”Imam made him miss a lot but he didn’t throw enough punches back. He just didn’t throw enough punches.”
Ramirez did most of his damage with left hooks in the early rounds but hurt Imam with a right to the head in the sixth. He went back to the left hooks in the seventh, ripping Imam with at least three or four, but Imam came right back with a strong eighth.
But Ramirez quickly regained control and wobbled Iman late in the 10th. Imam, who was the WBC’s No. 1 rated contender, had a swollen right eye in the 11th and any chance of rallying to win the bout ended when Ramirez drove him back into his own corner with a hard combination moments after the 12th began.